One perspective on the Incarnation that I especially like is that put forth by Cynthia Bourgeault in her excellent book entitled, The Wisdom Jesus. Bourgeault describes the Master like this:
From a God’s-eye view of creation, the real operational challenge is not sin and evil, it is posed by the vastly unequal energetic frequencies between the realms. How can the sun touch a snowflake? How can the divine radiance meet and interpenetrate created life without incinerating it? This is the ultimate metaphysical koan – to which Christianity proposes as its solution the mystery of the incarnation.
Returning to our metaphor of the prism, depending upon the angle we are viewing the light from, we are going to see a different color. With the gospel and the Incarnation, depending upon the angle of our perspective we may see the exact same truth with alternate explanations. For example, the traditional interpretation of why we needed to be “cleansed” from all sin by the sacrifice of Jesus is that a pure and holy God could not tolerate sin in his presence.
Bourgeault looks at the same phenomenon and gives an alternative explanation, equally plausible. The intense frequency of the energies of the higher realms, being of a higher vibratory nature, would destroy life on this plane of existence. Jesus, in ways perhaps only understood by Quantum physicists, unleashed an energy that raised the vibratory rate of humankind and prevented us mortals from being consumed by the higher energies of the heavenly realms.
Far from being some sort of New Age mumbo jumbo, Bourgeault is viewing the Incarnation and the gospel message with the insight gleaned from cutting edge science. Far from being at odds with the Christian faith, science of this sort deepens our understanding of the gospel. Bourgeault continues:
This realization, in turn, opens up a whole new line of insight into John’s statement, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” The Son, in this wider metaphysical context, is no longer the one who bails us out or rescues us from our fallen state but the one who becomes our bridge between the realms. Recognizing the enormous difficulty of our mission, Jesus comes to accompany us on it, advocating for our human finitude in a way that respects its integrity but doesn’t allow us to get trapped in it. As in the traditional theological understanding (but with a very different flavor), he becomes our mediator. Standing at the confluence of two vastly different orders of being, he offers his own life as the sanctuary between them.
I vividly recall my getting out of bed and preparing for an early morning breakfast meeting my first day in China. Still bleary from jet lag and tired from a 16-hour plane ride, followed by six more hours on a Chinese train, my brain was hitting on about two cylinders. After brushing my teeth I plugged in my electric razor and flipped the “on” switch.
That’s when I realized something was horribly amiss.
If my razor was equipped with a tachometer it would have blown past the red line in a fraction of a second. The little motor screamed loudly at me as if to say, “You idiot!” The razor became too hot to hold and I dropped it into the sink just as smoke was pouring out of every avenue of escape. Finally, the poor thing coughed and sputtered a few times, made a wheezing sound kind of like an old Dodge on a cold morning, and then went belly up and died.
I recalled, much too late for my razor’s best interest, that China ran on 22o volts and the razor was built for 110. I had brought along an adapter that would step down the voltage to 110, but in my jet lag soaked state, I totally forgot about it. The adapter acts as a bridge between the higher voltage of the Chinese electrical system with the lower voltage capacity of the American shaving device. The point that Bourgeault is making about Jesus is similar. Viewed from one angle, his Incarnation made possible the direct interaction between God and humankind. Yet another metaphor applicable here is Moses’ encounter with the burning bush. Although the bush was ablaze with God’s power and presence, it was not consumed. Now that we are “in Christ,” we can also be in God’s presence and not be consumed. This is but one of the countless ways the Israelites’ journey though the wilderness serves as a metaphor for the outworking of the Christian life on a daily basis.
to be continued…..
(c) L.D. Turner 2011/All Rights Reserved
- The Scandal of the Incarnation (Part One) (lifebrook.wordpress.com)
- You are the Dance (zoecarnate.wordpress.com)
- The Heretical Roots of Fundamentalism (insightscoop.typepad.com)